November 16, 2009

“dpBestflow” aims to drive best practices

There are a million ways you can process, manage, and archive your images–but how should you? What techniques best capture and preserve your creative output?

To address these questions, the Library of Congress, working with ASMP, has just announced “dpBestflow” (Digital Photography Best Practices and Workflow). Two years’ worth of research have produced “real-world solutions for preserving the quality and integrity of digital images; proven best practices that have been shown to produce superior results; and guidelines for streamlined production workflows.”

The site is loaded with resources, ranging from a quick reference sheet* to a detailed glossary. I haven’t gotten to read the materials in detail, but the effort seems like a great response to persistent real-world issues. [Via project contributor Peter Krogh.]

* Nice to see this guidance: “Use DNG to archive raw file data… A DNG archive can be validated with a much higher level of certainty than any other image file format.”

Posted by John Nack at 12:53 PM on November 16, 2009


  • Andrew McCormick — 5:22 PM on November 16, 2009

    saw this come over some forums yesterday. Might take some time to soak in what all it has to offer.

  • James — 7:03 PM on November 16, 2009

    “Use DNG to archive raw file data… A DNG archive can be validated with a much higher level of certainty than any other image file format.”
    I’m pretty sure I can apply any kind of hash/validation scheme to any file I want to–cr2, dng, tga–with the same level of certainty.

  • PECourtejoie — 12:11 AM on November 17, 2009

    Yes, but can you do it with tools as simple as the DNG converter?
    Can you do a double check, like with a DNG with embedded RAW? Will your editing tools confirm that the files are ok?
    And… did you read some of the actual content of the links before commenting?

  • Barry Pearson — 12:29 AM on November 17, 2009

    I’ve added a reference to this project to the Wikipedia page for DNG. (“Rationale” section).
    (I’ve been trying to improve the quality of the DNG page, and I created the CinemaDNG page. I posted to the respective Adobe forums pointing out what I had done a few weeks ago).
    What is the current state of standardization of DNG? I am aware that ISO are basing the revised 12234-2 profile 2 on DNG 1.3, but I just get random bits of information, and I would like to see a more comprehensive statement of progress.

  • dng adobe — 3:42 AM on November 17, 2009

    adobe then will milk it´s user when they want to use a DNG version for longer then 2 years.
    as they do it currently with their CS suite and ACR?
    i don´t trust adobe wider then i can spit…..
    open raw is the way to go.

  • Peter Krogh — 4:54 AM on November 17, 2009

    One advantage of using DNG validation is that the validation hash can survive the editing of the file. If you make any change to a CR2 (add copyright, keyword or rating star), then the hash becomes invalid.
    If you use Adobe software and thus never modify the raw, then your hash tags are survivable, but they are still not embedded in the file. This means you need to keep a separate database of hashes, and make sure to preserve and migrate it. I’m guessing that there are very few photographers (

  • Peter Krogh — 5:13 AM on November 17, 2009

    While I’m generally not in favor of feeding the trolls, I’ll make two points.
    The FREE DNG converter allows users to to open new files in older software. It allows users to *avoid* paid upgrade, rather than *forcing* it. It also allows users to make their work much more portable – to other manufacturers’ programs, for instance – rather than locking it in a single application.
    And as far as OpenRAW goes, while I was a very early supporter, it’s simply going nowhere. I’m still in favor of it in principle, but you’re smoking crack if you think Nikon or Canon is going to go along with this.
    …end troll feeding

  • Jeffrey Tranberry — 7:38 AM on November 17, 2009

    Peter, you are absolutely right. It’s a common misconception that you need to upgrade your copy of Photoshop for new camera support.
    For us, leveraging DNG and the FREE DNG converter is the fastest way to deliver FREE backwards compatibility to ALL users (CS2, CS3, plus 3rd party apps that support DNG) & also support the greatest number of cameras. Did I say FREE and compatibility enough times?
    Also, to quote one of my favorite Nack-isms “Crack doesn’t smoke itself.”

  • Barry Pearson — 8:37 AM on November 17, 2009

    Since this is turning into a discussion about DNG, here is something that I suspect not many people know:
    During the first 5 years from the launch of DNG, about 38 camera models were launched that wrote DNG.
    In that time, Adobe software added support for about 21 Canon models, about 20 Nikon models, and about 22 Olympus models.
    Camera models that write DNG are almost certainly launched at a much higher rate than camera models that support ANY other individual raw image format, including NEF, CR2, and ORF!

  • lop — 9:19 AM on November 17, 2009

    none of my canon dslr cameras can write DNG.
    how many nikons can?
    do you have a list of these 38 camera models?

  • PECourtejoie — 2:45 AM on November 18, 2009

    Yes, he does:

  • PECourtejoie — 2:51 AM on November 18, 2009

    Mr Krogh, sadly, it looks like your post has been eaten alive (maybe do we need a md5 hash when we post in this tiny window? ;) ), I am curious about the rest of your post…
    Also, when you say that the hash is to be redone when adding stars, metadata, etc, I want to confirm that you meant using a proprietary software, and not a third party editor, like Adobe’s, Apple’s, C1, Bibble, DXO and co?
    Finally, thanks for the educational work you do for the whole photographic community!

  • John — 3:02 AM on November 18, 2009

    is there a rough estimation when L3 will be released?
    is it 3 month or 6 month

  • John — 3:05 AM on November 18, 2009

    the list shows how far DNG is from becoming a standard format.
    the cameras are either haselblad or leicas who cost as much as a mercedes or some crap point and shoot.

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